Monday, January 26, 2009

Crossing Lines

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre founded the Swiss-based Society of St. Pius X in 1969, opposed to the liberalizing reforms of the 1962-65 Second Vatican Council, particularly its allowing of Mass to be celebrated in local languages instead of Latin.

In 1978, Lefebvre came to St. Mary's Academy and College to inspect the campus of St. Mary’s, which through 1966 the Jesuits operated as a Roman Catholic seminary. Lefebvre authorized purchase of the property, and the academy’s Web site says by 2003, the number of parishioners worshiping there was about 2,450.

In 1988 when Lefebvre ordained four bishops with Rome’s consent, he and they were excommunicated. Lefebvre died in 1991.

In a statement today, the current head of the society and one of the rehabilitated bishops, Bernard Fellay, expressed his gratitude to Benedict and said the decree would help the whole Catholic Church.

The Society believes the Church is in crisis and blames in part the doctrinal reforms of Vatican II, including its ecumenical outreach, for causing it.

“Our Society wishes to be always more able to help the pope to remedy the unprecedented crisis which presently shakes the Catholic world,” Fellay said.

Benedict made clear from the start of his pontificate that he wanted to normalize relations with the society, meeting within months of his election with Fellay and convening cardinals to discuss bringing the society back into the Vatican’s fold.

In 2007, Benedict answered one of Fellay’s key demands by relaxing restrictions on celebrating the old Latin Mass. In lifting the excommunication decree, he answered the society’s second condition for beginning theological discussions about normalizing relations.

However, the Vatican has its demands of the SSPX, including respect for the pope and his authority.

Link (here) to the full article

Fr. James Martin, S.J. has two posts on The Society of St. Pius X. Here are some excerpts and links to those posts.

Pope Lifts Excommunication of Lefebvrite bishops

A surprising, and important, story out of Rome today: Pope Benedict XVI has lifted the ban of excommunications of four Lefebvrite bishops, members of the controversial Society of St. Pius X. ....... The lifting of the ban of excommunication of the SSPX is an interesting counterpoint, to say the very least, to the excommunication threatened against Fr. Roy Bourgeois, who participated in a women's ordination ceremony.

Link (here)


Wow. Here is the statement from Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior general of the Society of St. Pius X, responding to the lifting of the ban of excommunications.

Link (here)

Interesting to note.

The Society of Pius X purchased St. Mary's Jesuit Seminary from The Society of Jesus.

With the lifting of the excommunications on the four Bishops, technically they may have canonical control over the Jesuits in the Diocese in which they administer.

When the SSPX talks about Modernism, {and (here)} two points of the definition are Tielhardism and Liberation Theology.

Vatican II has not been to kind to the Society's number of members, some loose statistics: USA Jesuit priests: before Vatican II, 8,000. Today, 2,640. Link (here)

Read Fr. John Zuhlsdorf's post entitled,

SSPX Bp. Williamson comments on the lifting of the excomm’s.

An excerpt.

The SSPX’s Bishop Williamson responds to the lifting of the excommunication. Let’s have a look with my emphases and comments. Link (here) to Fr. Z's in depth analysis

Damian Thompson from Holy Smoke
an excerpt.

The genius of Summorum Pontificum was that it handed back the traditional Latin Mass to ordinary Catholics, marginalising the sectarian bigots of the SSPX and their many sympathisers inside the official Catholic Church. Alas, both the SSPX and the Tabletistas (Staff writers at the Jesuit published magazine) have a vested interest in the failure of the Motu Proprio: the liberals would like nothing better than the Tridentine Mass to be associated with the likes of Williamson..

Link (here)

St. Mary Magdalen blogger Fr. Ray Blake give us some more insights.

They have 700-plus chapels and six seminaries are spread across the globe. The Society counts close to 500 priests and 200 seminarians in over 60 countries. I am not quite sure what this is going to mean, there are still doctrinal and legal complexities to be dealt with. I doubt somehow my Bishop will be invited to offer Pontifical Mass at the Throne in the SSPX chapel in the neighboring parish, or that the times of Mass will be in our next diocesan directory. It does not mean instant reconciliation. .

Link (here)


Anonymous said...

"With the lifting of the excommunications on the four Bishops, technically they may have canonical control over the Jesuits in the Diocese in which they administer."

Joseph, you write an enormous BS:

these four bishops, validly but illicitly consecrated, remain suspended in all their faculties, as do any priests ordained by them. There has been no normalization of relations between SSPX and Rome.

Cardinal Ricard, the Archbishop of Bordeaux and member of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei” has issued a statement:The lifting of the excommunication is not the end, but the beginning of a process of dialogue. It does not resolve two fundamental questions: the juridical structure of the Fraternity of St. Pius X in the Church and an agreement on dogmatic and ecclesiological questions.

Joseph Fromm said...

Dear Anonymous,

You stated that my comment was enormous B.S.

However your quote supports my sentiment about the technicalities.

A full reunion of the Catholic SSPX with the Roman Catholic Church will most likely lead to a retroactive validation of their ordination as Bishops and their faculties restored.

This reunion should be a prayer of all Catholics, that they are restored to full Communion.

"Jesus will leave the 99 sheep in order to rescue the one which is lost"